This issue takes place concurrently with ‘Avengers Vs. X-Men’ #12, with the combined forces of the X-Men and Avengers facing off against Cyclops, while back at the Jean Grey school, the Stepford Cuckoos monitor these events via Cerebra. At the school, Kitty has to pull Paige Guthrie into her office after her behavior, increasingly erratic, has reached a new low, allowing a fight to take place in her classroom, between Glob Herman and Quentin Quire. Paige isn’t the only one whose personality seems to be changing wildly. Idie Okonkwo bursts out laughing at the battle… the first time anyone has heard her laugh. In Kitty’s office, Paige angrily quits. Kitty, realizing the stress that they’ve all been under with the war with the Avengers and then the Phoenix Force Five, decides to throw a dance that night.
Later, Broo spies Idie sneaking off into town to go to church, which apparently she’s been doing a lot lately. She says she’ll be back in time for the dance, which Broo interprets to be a date. The dance itself is humorously rendered with a gag in almost every panel. Check out who’s DJing! Broo, bouquet in hand walks up to Idie on the dance floor… only to find her in someone else’s arms. In true 80s teen movie mode, Broo runs off dejectedly.
He goes to Idie’s church, to get to the bottom of Idie’s personality shift but learns that this is all part of a larger plot. In a side story, we learn there is a traitor amongst the students, who is attempting to get at least one more of the more powerful students to betray the team.
Kitty and the Stepford Cuckoos learn of Professor X’s death, but suddenly Cerebra begins lighting up as new mutants appear. They don’t notice another light blink out of existence.
This issue has that amazing balance that makes this book so enjoyable. Dark tragedy, action and more than a little humor, usually delivered via sight gags like the Bamfs that are always glimpsed causing mischief. Jorge Molina’s art, especially his hilarious facial expressions add a lot to that. There’s a shot of Crakoa that I actually laughed out loud at. I may have imagined it, but seems like he’s slightly tweaking his smooth, clean art style to make it slightly more like this book’s other regular penciler, Chris Bachalo’s style.
This issue is treated as a “season finale” closing out the first year of this title and in 18 issues, quite a lot has transpired in that time. And like on TV, it ends with a bang, raising the stakes for the next year’s worth of stories.
This book has been so smooth and entertaining, with only the ‘AvX’ crossover disrupting it. And while that has resulted in less fluidity from issue to issue, the book has never failed to entertain, taking on a more “one and done” format for these past few months, delivering stand-alone tales each chapter. This book always delights!
WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #18
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Jorge Molina
Cover by Ed McGuinness and Morry Hollowell